Car Leasing for Expats: Six ways to save
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Car Leasing for Expats: Six ways to save

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You can lease a car in Switzerland and save up to CHF 10,000. Follow these tips from auto expert Markus Häfeli of Autociel who knows the ins and outs of the Swiss auto market and has been advising expats on their car needs for more than 19 years. 

If you have questions about buying or leasing a car in Switzerland or would like Autociel's support to buy or lease a car, click below to get in touch. 

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Are you in the process of moving to Switzerland? Then maybe leasing a car might be the right choice for you. In this article, Markus Häfeli of shares his expertise on leasing a car as an expat in Switzerland. Here are six ways to save up to CHF 10,000 if you decide car leasing is the best choice for you.

Markus has over 19 years of experience working with expats for car rental, leasing and sales. To help you, he has put together a list of six important things to keep in mind when leasing a car as an expat in Switzerland.  


1. Leasing with installment payments, down-payments or no payments?

How can you find the best option for your needs? There are a lot of dealers requiring high down-payments or offering you a credit with rates as high as up to 10%!  Find out below, whether it would be best for you to take an option with a high down payment or whether it is better for you to make a lower down payment – or, perhaps even none at all.  

If you are here for a short period of time: ask about the possibility of making no or a low down payment. 

It is very common for car dealers to ask you for a 10% or 20% down-payment. However, if you are on an assignment for three years in Switzerland, and you simply want to lease a car for the length of your stay, then return it to avoid the hassle of reselling it, the best possible option would be for you to be able to lease a car without making any down payment. Not many dealers are offering this plan. Be aware that similar leasing formulas are available. After all, less financial investment equals fewer responsibilities upon departure from Switzerland.

When would it be useful to make a high down payment? 

If you are on a local contract and you prefer to keep the car for a longer time, then it might be worth it to make a higher down payment with a low residual value.  This way, you only need to pay a small amount at the end of the contract, and the car is yours. Solutions like this are far less expensive than financing the car with a credit. Receiving credit can be difficult, because in order to be eligible for a credit you have to have lived in Switzerland for over one year. The rates are between 9-10% and on average, for a lease, are around 5%. You have to be sure that your dealer is a trustworthy person, since he is the one who takes out the leasing contract, so it is he who is legally bound to the leasing company.  However, he has no obligation to give you the car in the end at all, let alone for the residual value that was agreed upon. 


2. Consider the length & flexibility of the leasing contract and kilometres/year 

Does your car dealer offer flexible leasing terms? If you are not sure you'll stay in Switzerland for three years, then find out if the dealer offers a two-year contract with a possible flexible extension.

Why is it important to consider contract length and mileage?

In general, you can make a leasing contract from 12 to 60 months - where 12 months can be the most expensive option. Most of our expat customers go for a 24 or 36 month lease contract, and 20'000 km/year is typically sufficient for most. With some dealers you can choose between 10'000km and 30'000km, but be careful with the mileage: it is better to choose a higher mileage option as the additional kilometres are invoiced around CHF 0.50/km. If you do the math, if you drive 10'000km more over 3 years, you have to pay an additional CHF 5'000.


3. What is included in a leasing contract in Switzerland for an individual customer?

Be aware of additional costs such as road tax and services. The leasing contract includes only the cost to lease the car. The yearly cost for insurance and cantonal road taxes are separate, as are the costs for servicing and repairing the car. Full comprehensive leasing contracts may be available for company fleet cars – inquire with your car dealer to find out if this is the case. 


4. Should I lease a used car or a new car?

It can be much more affordable to lease a used car. But if you decide to go for this option – then I recommend that you choose a car that is up to 2 years old, with a maximum mileage of 30,000 kilometres. This option offers the best cost efficiency for both repairs and re-sale options. Watch out though: if you lease an older car, you are likely to face expensive repair costs. 


5. Do I qualify for a leasing in Switzerland?

Laws and administration can complicate things if you are working with a company that does not specialize in car services for expats. Plan in advance – before you even make your move to Switzerland and check if your chosen car dealer has experience in leasing cars to expats. With a company like Autociel, even if you only have a L permit – but you have a valid working contract – you can apply for your leasing and send your B permit to the dealer once you received it.


6. Early termination: what happens with my lease if I need to leave the country earlier than expected?

Who knows how long you will stay in Switzerland? If you leave the country, what happens with your leasing contract?  In Switzerland you face up to CHF 10'000 penalty for breaking a leasing contract. In our experience, the official dealers will not offer further help in this kind of scenario – they will simply propose that you face the penalty. 

In order to avoid any unpleasant surprises, find out what the consequences would be in case of early termination and whether they can help you find the best solution between the penalty and selling the car for you at an advantageous sales commission. Make sure that the dealer will offer you a quality car that is popular on the market, so that in case you do need to leave the country, your car sells quickly and you can save on additional costs. Read here more about how to resell your car.

I hope that this article will help you avoid possible future complications and difficulties when leasing your car. For any questions, do get in touch, we're happy to help!

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Find out more about Autociel

Autociel is Packimpex's partner of choice for all matters related to the rental, purchase, lease, import and resale of auto vehicles. It was founded by Markus Häfeli in 2002 and has an excellent network in Switzerland, Germany and other European countries. You will enjoy great, money saving advice from auto experts who specialize in the complexities of expat life.

Import a car

Autociel are experts in the complexities of international sourcing, importing, and tax-free deals (when the car is a moving good). You'll enjoy many advantages compared with regular Swiss car dealerships, service in English, great advice and unique deals. Find out what you can expect if you import your car with Autociel's help.

Amazing car deals

Autociel helps expats find the best car at the best price. They can source many cars at prices lower than the Swiss norm thanks to their extensive European import network. If you need to rent a vehicle, they will provide one at half the price of most rental companies. Find out what you can expect when you buy or lease a car with Autociel's help.

Personal Service

Newcomers to Switzerland can start the purchase process even while they are still abroad. Leavers can depend on Autociel taking over their car at a fair resale price or selling it for you.

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Not interested in buying or leasing a car?

Autociel can also help with importing or selling your car so have a look below: 

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